How To Go Viral

What does it mean to go viral, and what is the secret to going viral in this day and age? Is there even one to begin with? If there isn’t, what are the best practices for your content to get attention? 

Every day, there is a great number of social media posts getting an unprecedented amount of attention while being shared across the globe. Will it be the piece of content that makes your brand go viral?

Having content go viral is every digital marketer’s hope – be it for a personal brand, public personality, or business. The idea of having thousands, if not millions, of people engaging with your content, can take your brand to the next level. More ‘vanity metrics’, a chance to build more loyal followers, and a chance to increase your credibility as a leader in whatever industry you’re in.

We can all learn from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that went viral on social media in August 2014 (and still has quite the recall today). It was a self-administered challenge, done by pouring a bucket of ice over one’s head, to promote awareness of a motor neuron disease known as ALS.

The challenge focused on inspiring people to take action for a cause. It was a worldwide success: it was easy to recreate, it was entertaining to watch, and most importantly, it sent an important message on awareness. Ultimately, it was a great way to deliver a message and make a lasting impact. 

This hasn’t been the only campaign that has used the relatable, simple, entertaining, and impactful approach, so why do some pieces of content go viral and others don’t?

The answer is that there is no guarantee that anything you post will go viral. The good news is that there are best practices that can increase the chances of your assets getting huge traction and wider reach. 

We found techniques on how brands get attention for their content so they flourish on social media.

Here’s how they made it and how you can, too:

1.  Choose the right content for the right audience

Having millions of followers is not a requirement to go viral. It’s about getting the right content in front of the right people. Get to know your audience and find out what they want or what you think will resonate with them. Once you see things from their point of view, it becomes easier to create content that will pique their interest.

What kind of media do they share most often? Is it articles, short videos, infographics, photos, or podcasts? What social media platform does your audience use most?  With these observations, you’ll be able to find the right approach and style so you can carefully tailor-fit content that your followers will recognize.

2.   Tell stories

Nothing resonates with social media users more than an authentic, relatable story. People are most likely to interact in the comments and share content if they can relate to the narrative. After all, it has been proven that our brains are hardwired for stories. 

Capture people’s attention by providing a storyline; do not just settle on a photo with a one-line caption. The goal of storytelling is to share with people where you come from, what you do, what your brand believes in, and how you can help them. If you want your audience to get invested, you have to take them on a compelling journey that answers the goals mentioned above.    

One of the brands that use storytelling as their strategy to gain more clients is Airbnb. Instead of telling what their services are, they allow people to have a platform where they can share and tell their stories with the community. They put a spotlight on the lives of Airbnb hosts and what a guest might expect and experience if they decided to have a stay with them.  This technique works as it helps people answer one of the biggest exposures when using a service like this – who are the people they are staying with and how is the service? Stories help answer these questions.

3.   Keep it straight to the Point

One of the most important messages you can send your audience is that you value their time. It may sound cliché but time is of the essence especially in this digital era where social media users have a limited attention span.

To battle this, make sure you produce digestible content. Posts with too much text or videos with long introductions will be most likely ignored so chances of being shared will be much lower, let alone going viral. Gauge the readability of what you are writing and put yourself in the shoes of your followers. By narrowing your focus, you could provide sharable and valuable content without confusing your audience.

4.    Use powerful visuals 

Visual content gets more than twice as many shares on social media than those without any images in them. This emphasizes the importance of having visual elements mixed in your content. While written content is also valuable, visual content can connect with people. With the rise of YouTube and Tiktok users, people realized that posting videos help them create a deeper relationship with their viewers. Not to mention, videos and photos are more fun and shareable.

One good option is to create content that informs or entertains. If you observe social media posts across different channels, posts that generate instant attraction are motivational quotes and videos that make people burst into laughter. People enjoy the content that can inspire them, give them knowledge about a topic, or entertain. This is the reason why the majority of viral content includes posts with instant entertainment value. When done well, compelling images and video content can help you stand out in the crowd.

5.       Work with influencers

There has been a rapid growth of social media influencers over the past several years and even politicians, athletes, artists, health care professionals, and other professions changed the way they communicate to mimic how these influencers would communicate with their respective audiences.

To help expand your content reach, you’ll need to reach out to and team up with people who have a solid following to increase your chances of going viral and growing your audience. These content creators have a specific niche audience that can help your brand get more attention, so research and identify social media influencers that resonate with your brand personality. With the right influencer, you can reach your target audience, build credibility, and drive engagement.

One final note: virality isn’t the end-all, be-all of content marketing, publicity, and brand popularity. It’s one aspirational aspect of your brand, but nothing beats brand consistency and authenticity.

Looking to build your brand credibility and positive public relations? Work with us at NGP-IMC today — check out our services!